Today we cant with the amazing Auckland creative Kaan Hiini. Kaan works in the amazing socially conscious studio Curative and is a key member in putting together the monthly Auckland Creative Mornings. Kaan shares his favourite CM speakers thus far, other great can’t miss events Auckland offers the creative community and why getting involved is so important and rewarding!
Please tell us about the design community in Auckland.
Being the country’s biggest city means we probably have the biggest creative community, and as such we’re in an incredibly privileged position. We have such a wide variety of creatives here, all doing amazing things. But on an international scale, Auckland is comparatively small, which in some ways is a blessing in disguise. The smaller scale makes interaction with these creatives so much easier. As I’ve experienced it, the Akl design community is pretty active, friendly and engaged. If you’re engaged and willing to get involved with things happening around the community, you’re pretty likely to be embraced by the community, and that’s a great thing. It leads to some potentially exciting places.
What are your favourite Creatives that have spoken at CM AKL? That’s a tough one. Speakers bring their own special story to the stage, which I’m really thankful for. But a few that have really stood out:
1. Askew One really captured the blessing and the curse of living on a tiny island at the bottom of the world.
2. Nat Cheshire talking about the changing face of Auckland, and his work carving out desert bar Milse.
3. Richie Hardcore addressing NZ’s binge drinking culture.
4. And most recently Dylan Horrocks so beautifully describing the fear we all feel when faced with a blank page.
How did you become involved in Creative Mornings and what are the personal benefits?
I’ve been a part of CreativeMornings/Auckland since we kicked off, in a whole lot of roles. As we started, I was just returning from a stint in Europe and looking to reintroduce myself to the local design community. Jade Tang-Taylor, my friend from Uni, mentioned she was bringing CM to Auckland, and asked me to be the chapter photographer, which I eagerly agreed to. It was an amazing chance to meet leading creatives, and the local community who frequent such events. Towards the end of 2012 I began to manage the video team as well as taking photos, and then in 2014 I began to shoulder more responsibility around the organisation of the talks, handling event logistics, content creation across social media channels and comms with speakers, venue hosts, partners and the team and exploring ways we can develop what we’re already doing. And this year Jade is being kept pretty busy so I’m taking as much off her plate as is possible, which means stepping into the hosting role when she’s not able to make the event. The benefits? I get to meet and hang out with great people, hear inspiring stories, and help build and nurture a cities Creative Community!
Are there any other events in your city like-minded creatives shouldn’t miss?
There’s always plenty of things to do and see, you just have to keep an eye out. Design Assembly hosts annual conversation series, film screenings, pub quizzes and workshops. The Designers Institute also hosts a whole range of talks from some of our best and brightest, across Graphic, Interactive, Spatial and Product alongside Open Studio visits, and the annual Best awards, which also gets an exhibition. Semi-Permanent is a pretty regular fixture, as is Tedx. Scribble Ideas club runs weekly and is a great place to meet creative minds, and engage in creative play. Spark Lab has started running talks, panels and workshops at the Seafarers building. There’s Service Design meet ups, Late at the Museum, First Thursdays, and throughout the year various exhibitions, talks, magazine launches and other events pop-up. I’m sure there are heaps more, but that’s what sits at the top of my mind.
Who’s on the team?
We’ve got a fantastically diverse group of people that keep us going, and are doing heaps of other cool stuff too. Jade Tang-Taylor & Eddy Helm are chapter hosts, some of my closest friends & run Social Design studio Curative. Mallika Goel & Bree Asmus dream up our icebreakers and welcome the masses. Their day jobs have them doing design research at Designworks. Reagan Qiu and Benj Brooking video the talks. Reagan is a game designer and tech wunderkind, while Benj directs, films and produces a whole lot of fantastic videos, and spends any spare time helping refugees, going to UN Climate Change Summits and being a bloody great human being. Aria Taylor, Juanita Madden & Jess Holdaway are our photography team, although Aria has sadly just left us for Europe. Jess works at Curative with us, and together with her husband, founded the socially conscious FRANK Stationery, while Juanita is a dancer and project manager. Courteney Peters & Edward Dever man the refreshments stands. Edward is also part of the Curative crew, and co-founded a weekly improv comedy show, Snort, with a bunch of the country’s top comedians, while Courteney runs the beautiful Gather & Hunt website, which provides a map to the magic in Akl. Jemma Field helps to host, and she’s just finished her PHD in Art History. And our newest additions are Imogen Holmstead-Scott, Laura Benns & Natasha Vermeulen: They keep everything running smoothly, investigate how we can be more environmentally conscious, and sketch the proceedings respectively. Phew! I’m barely scratching the surface of this group’s awesome. I’d love to shine more light on them.